Former Obama Admin Official: Trump Is Right to Be Paranoid, Just Like Stalin Was

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MSNBC legal analyst Neal Katyal, who served as acting U.S. solicitor general during the Obama administration, compared President Donald Trump’s paranoia to that of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin Thursday morning. 

Katyal appeared on "MSNBC Live" with host Stephanie Ruhle as part of a discussion about an anonymous New York Times op-ed alleging "resistance" within the Trump administration. 

"Yeah, no, I mean I think, look, he’s right to be paranoid. I don’t know if he has a right to be paranoid. He’s right to be paranoid. I mean, just as Stalin had a right to be paranoid and was paranoid," Katyal said.

No one on the panel pushed back against the claim.

The comment is the latest to make a comparison that has become a hobbyhorse among panelists, politicians, and pundits. 

Comparisons between the United States and Stalinist Russia were made in July on CNN’s "Anderson Cooper 360" and MSNBC’s "Morning Joe."

Responding to a Quinnipiac poll that found 51 percent of Republican respondents viewed the news media as the "enemy of the people," a phrase Trump has rolled out on occasion, Rep. Jim Himes (D., Conn.) told CNN’s Jim Sciutto: "You know who says that kind of stuff? Joseph Stalin said that kind of thing. Dictators say that kind of thing."

The Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne invoked Trump’s wording as one of the "ominous signs" that the United States was "slouching toward autocracy."

New Yorker editor in chief David Remnick penned a piece saying, "Trump and the Enemies of the People" in August, warning of the cost of "the language of Stalinism."

Howard Kurtz, host of Fox News’ "Media Buzz," noted the Stalin theme in August, lamenting it as part of "inflammation on both sides."

Stalin was notoriously brutal and jealous in his absolute control over the Communist Party in the Soviet Union, and under his rule some of history's deadliest famines and totalitarian measures were inflicted on residents of the USSR.

Mikhael Smits

Mikhael Smits   Email Mikhael | Full Bio | RSS
Mikhael Smits is a Public Interest Fellow at the Washington Free Beacon. He studied political theory at Princeton University. He can be reached at smits@freebeacon.com. His Twitter handle is @mikhaelsmits.

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